Sunday, July 26

Post from the past: Cleaning indoor air with plants

A while back Cheryl Tiegs discussed indoor air quality (The Supermodel as Super Model. For the Environment) on the Healthy Bliss Channel of Blissfully Domestic.

One of the things that Cheryl Tiegs mentioned was a study performed by NASA to determine which plants worked best at removing indoor toxins. I read through parts of the study (which reminded me of my college days when I had to read through studies and write briefs on them, bad flashbacks) and although it was extremely informative it was a bit wordy (and scientific based). I was able to find a couple of sites that did a good job summarizing the study, (Top Houseplants for Improving Indoor Air Quality and NASA Study House Plants Clean Air) and I will do my best to highlight the study/findings here.

NASA sealed a variety of common indoor plant types in Plexiglas chambers and injected a variety of chemicals into the chambers.

What they found is that living, green and flowering plants can remove several toxic chemicals from the air in buildings, are extremely efficient at absorbing contaminants in the air, and that some plant types are better at absorbing certain chemicals then others.

Flowering plants such as gerbera daisy (pictured here) and chrysanthemums were rated superior in removing benzene from the chamber atmosphere.

Philodendron, spider plant and the golden pothos (pictured here) were the most effective in removing formaldehyde from the chamber atmosphere.

“Plants take substances out of the air through the tiny openings in their leaves,” Wolverton said. “But research in our laboratories has determined that plant leaves, roots and soil bacteria are all important in removing trace levels of toxic vapors”.

The study recommends, for an average home of under 2,000 square feet, using a good variety of at least fifteen samples (grown in six inch containers or larger) of common houseplants (listed below) to help improve the quality of air in your home.
*Heartleaf philodendron
*Elephant ear philodendron (pictured below)

*Dracaena fragrans `Massangeana', cornstalk dracaena
*English ivy (pictured below)

*Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant
*Dracaena deremensis `Janet Craig', Janet Craig dracaena
*Dracaena deremensis `Warneckii', Warneck dracaena
*Ficus benjamina, weeping fig (pictured below)

*Epipiremnum aureum, golden pothos
*Philodendron selloum
*Aglaonema modestum, Chinese evergreen (pictured below)

*Chamaedorea sefritzii, bamboo or reed palm
*Sansevieria trifasciata, snake plant (pictured below)

*Dracaena marginata , red-edged dracaena
I counted up the number of plants that we have in our home and found that we are right at 15 but there are some rooms that don't have any plants in them (Obviously I need to add some).
I am happy to say that the majority of the plants that we do have are on the "NASA approved list" I liked to say this is because I knew about the study before we purchased our plants but the real reason....all these plants are extremely easy to grow and won't die when I forget to water them for a couple of weeks.
I have had the same huge golden pothos for over 10 years now. I keep cutting it back, placing the cuttings in water, and replanting them.
I have grown 2 other golden pothos this way!

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